Updated: Jun 9, 2021
About a year ago I was contacted by sweet Kim to do a summer senior session. I was so excited to get to work with one of my previous 4th grade students so I eagerly got her on the books. She texted me again a few days later to see if I’d be willing to do FOUR sessions throughout the upcoming year. She had a vision and plan in mind. I pulled out my scheduling planner and penciled her in for another three shoots. I wasn’t quite sure what FOUR sessions only a few months apart would look like but I’m sure glad I took on the challenge.
When Kim stepped out of her cute blue Ford Escape for her summer session, I knew we were going to have fun. She had on round hippie type glasses, a flowing smock, and an awesome hat. She told me that it had belonged to her dad before he had passed away. I wanted to make sure that we honored her father by getting some great shots with the hat. There was one picture in particular where the sun shone down directly on the hat that touched me. I couldn’t help but get chills later as I edited her gallery.
Always up for an adventure, we spent half of our time together wading through water. I was soaked from the waste down (water bogging down my Muck Boots!) and Kim well…let’s just say she really went for it! Completely soaked from head to toe she struck a double peace sign pose and we called it a wrap.
After our epic time together during our summer shoot I didn’t think much else could top laying down in a flowing river. I searched high and low for Fall colors and leaves (sometimes hard to find locally in K-town.) We ended up at Fossil Butte National Park where there were beautiful overlooks, warm colors, and lots of aspen trees.
This time around Kim wanted to showcase some of her interests which is always a MUST for a senior portrait shoot. She pulled out the cutest bow and arrow set (can I use “cute” and bow and arrow” in the same sentence?) that had hot pink accents throughout. We had some fun doing creative and classic shots with her gear.
She always loved to go archery hunting with her dad so she brought along his binoculars, calls, and a special bullet necklace that had some of his ashes in it. Again, I felt a calm wash over all of us (Mama Shellie was always at each shoot too!) that was undeniable. With one last pose in mind, she popped a knee pulled out the peace signs just as the sun set over the mountain.
Awhhh….winter in Kemmerer. Nothing like a good case of frost bite and hypothermia to get ya in the mood for an hour-long picture fest. I think the temperature was somewhere in the mid-20s the day we ventured out. Miss Kim didn’t get my reminder text to wear warm boots under her prom dress until AFTER we were at our meeting location either. Yup, you heard that right, she shuffled out into knee deep snow in ankle socks and slip-on shoes. You never would know it though by her stunning smile.
She must’ve really wanted to make her last two sessions different than the first though because she chopped her hair and dyed it a beautiful brown. 😉 Her vibrant red dress and new hairdo contrasted perfectly against the snow and made for another dreamy session.
Kim loves her little Escape and wanted some pictures with the ol’ gal. She jumped in the driver seat and popped out the sun roof and pulled out the double deuces again. I couldn’t help but laugh at this crazy girl! I asked her what we were going to do to remember her dad this time around. She grabbed her keychain that had a picture of her father when he was in high school and held it to her heart. Probably one of my most favorite pictures we had taken so far appeared on the back of my camera as I saw the love she felt for him and also that I KNEW he has for her.
Not only is it important to showcase personal interests in a senior session (like archery for Fall) it’s also a great idea to capture activities and passions a client has within the walls of high school. We decided to leave the frigid temperatures and went inside (hallelujah) to Kemmerer High School to use my new (at the time) studio lighting. We went for bold and fierce looks here. Who says you can’t wear a prom dress and Nike basketball sneakers at the same time?
With the sounds of graduation pomp and circumstance in the air I started to brainstorm locations for Spring. Driving 4 hours round trip into the hills for wildflowers just was realistic during this crazy time of year so I went to our local Boomgars to ask them a maybe unusual favor. For years now I’ve always wanted to do a green house shoot. Flowers are my love language and knew I needed to do Kim’s fourth and final shoot next to the bright and happy plants! Boomgars totally saved the day and had employees stay 30 minutes past closing time just so we could get the perfect sunlight beating down on their humid house of goodness. I think it’s fair to say the pictures turned out light and airy just like I had envisioned.
From there we ventured on to some rustic buildings and were almost attacked by a beaver…no a…badger…no a….rock chuck! Whatever the heck it was, it was big and scary but couldn’t deter us from powering through the shoot.
Our last and final location after a year-long endeavor of pictures was the cemetery to Kim’s Dad’s headstone. Memorial Day was just a few days prior so the whole cemetery was bright and glorious with fresh flowers, flags, and love evident throughout. We couldn’t help but laugh as we pulled up to the headstone and saw the sprinklers on. Maybe this was her dad’s way of trying to make her smile for images that he knew were going to be hard to take.
We tried waiting for them to shut off but as the sun got lower and lower, we decided to just go for it. Who knew that sprinklers mixed with the best golden hour light could provide such a soft and almost magical feel? There’s no doubt that heaven smiled down on Kim as she held her graduation hat that said, “I DID IT DAD!” Four separate times on four separate dates we felt his presence with us.
What a memorable and special experience it’s been to work with Kim. She’s off to college in a few short months ready for a new adventure. I just hope she’ll give me call when she’s ready to capture more of life’s awesome moments that are sure to come. CONGRATS KIM!